Is it possible to use an iMac (early 2008 model) as a second monitor (note: not with a second monitor)?

I have a Windows 7 laptop (for work) and when working at home it would be nice if I could somehow connect my iMac to act as a second monitor.

Of course, the Mini DisplayPort on my iMac can probably not be used since that is for connecting an extra monitor to the iMac, but maybe there is some neat cross-platform application to do dual-display over USB?

Also, any solution for the same thing between a MacBook and an iMac would be nice to know as well.

  • 1
    Could you clarify two things, which iMac (size and year), as well as if you are using the DisplayPort port for another display? Some iMacs (27" and depending on years) allowed you to use the iMac as an external monitor.
    – jmlumpkin
    Feb 14, 2012 at 16:26
  • @jmlumpkin: done Feb 14, 2012 at 22:50

5 Answers 5


I don't know your iMac spec, but look at Apple knowledge base

With Target Display mode, you can use your iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010) or iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) with Mac OS X as an external display. Connect any computer or other device with a Mini DisplayPort to your 27-inch iMac using a Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable or using a converter that converts other electrical, video, and audio protocols from another source device to Mini DisplayPort compliant signals. (Cables and converters available separately.)

  • 1
    The question has been edited to show that it’s about a 2008 iMac, so TDM won’t work.
    – Crissov
    Jul 9, 2016 at 16:37
  • For those that bump into this question, Target Display Mode is not supported anymore for iMac models after Late 2014, see support.apple.com/el-gr/HT204592 for details. Jun 3, 2019 at 19:15

Air Display application, supports both Mac and Windows. And appears to be for free.

Seemed really promising, but after installation on an iMac with OSX 10.5.8 and a laptop with Windows 7, both computers failed to detect each other. I restarted both app's, turning on/off, restarted the Bonjour service but couldn't get it to work :-(


Easy way ScreenRecycler, but commercial - and for Macs only.

For windows - you can try search for some freeware vnc solution.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWjwRV8ulAM This videos shows a user using his iMac as a display for his MacBook Pro, i.e it's possible.

  • Hmm, the solution used in the video (a specific cable: "Belkin Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort") seems to only apply for 27 inch iMacs and compatible macbooks. More info about the cable requriements: cultofmac.com/… Jul 27, 2011 at 14:20
  • get an adapter/dongle it should work Jul 27, 2011 at 14:42

This will not work unless your iMac is a 27" late 2009 or later, or an iMac 21.5" after late 2009.

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